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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Haven go it alone in battle against Leigh Centurions

WHITEHAVEN will go it alone against Leigh Centurions at the Recreation Ground on Thursday night (7.30pm) and not feature any players from Super League partners St Helens.

Chris Fleming phop
Chris Fleming

Saints’ dual-registered pair Ade Gardner and Ant Walker were both outstanding for Haven in Sunday’s impressive 16-12 win at Keighley.

But Gardner is on standby for his club’s Super League clash with Hull FC on Friday night, while top prospect Walker could also come in to contention.

Haven coach Dave Woods was offered a couple of young players from Saints who have already featured in the top-flight, but he has decided to stick with his own squad.

Gardner featured at Cougar Park only because Craig Calvert was unavailable, though Woods revealed he would have selected the ex-Great Britain winger, who created a try at Keighley with a brilliant burst down the touchline, if he had been available to face Leigh.

“Gardner was very lively, and you could not have dropped him on that performance,” said the coach, who could have left out Calvert.

“It would have been unfair to drop Chris Fleming as he has done nothing wrong in our two games and played well enough.

“The reason Ade Gardner is in the frame for Saints is that he played for us on Sunday, and that’s all you can ask from us.

“Both of the Saints boys put themselves about and needed the run-out to play Super League. But the other boys have to take some of the credit there.

“If the had not played well defensively, Ade would not have shone like he did.”

Danny Barker is out of contention after pulling up in training with a hamstring problem and a late check will be made on stand-off Jamie Rooney, who suffered a shin injury at Keighley, though he is thought likely to feature.

Haven were cheered loudly by fans throughout the Keighley game, and team manager Paul Goodwin has called for more of the same against Leigh.

“The players commentated after the game how they could hear our fans above the Keighley supporters,” he said. “It was back to what it was like three or four years ago.

“It made a difference and hopefully we’ll get a decent crowd against Leigh and they will again get behind the lads.”

Haven Horizon is calling on the Rugby Football League to review the current Super League licensing system and consider bringing back promotion and relegation.

Prior to the adoption of the licensing system, the Championship Grand Final winners were promoted to Super League in place of the side that finished bottom of the table - with the exception of Catalan, who were given protection from relegation when they finished bottom in 2006.

The fans’ group state: “Since the move was made in 2009 to move to a franchise model, teams in the lower divisions have had their chances of reaching the top tier significantly reduced.

“In all the other major sports in the UK, football, cricket, rugby union, promotion and relegation exists successfully, so why has it been taken away from rugby league?”

Haven Horizon want to obtain as many signatures as possible to highlight the situation. To sign the petition, click http://bit.ly/ULxxyD

Haven are offering special £30 family tickets, for two adults and two children on Thursday. Plus a special Valentine Night’s event in the sponsors’ lounge at £40 a head.

Included are a pre-match meal with wine and additional drinks, admission to the match, and access to pre and post-game interviews with Woods. This event must be booked by Thursday lunchtime.

The BARLA County Tri-Series deciders will be played at Wath Brow on Sunday when Cumbria host Lancashire. The Under-19s kick off at 1pm and the open age game at 2.30pm.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: B Park, Balmoral Road, Fairfield, with ticket number 961; L Skinner, Superdec, 259; John Brown, Brayton Road, Whitehaven, 3,220; P Nicholson, Newtown, Frizington, 435; Ross Elliot, Norbeck Park, Cleator Moor, 358.

Alan Irving’s Eye on the Ball – page 47.

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